One of my favorite gorgeous weather activities here on Tails You Win Farm is heading out with my camera for a nature walk back in the still-wild-and-woolly section of our 70-some-odd acres (72.25 for those who prefer to be specific). I generally start my hike by walking through the barn to get to the north pasture and then I head back to the east pasture (yeah, I may appear to have mad directional skills, but not really. I get lost on my own property on a regular basis.).
So on Easter Sunday, a beautiful day was unfolding so I headed out, camera in hand and ready to capture the magic of a new spring. I dove straight in to the woods and brush and quickly realized that I would have made a terrible Indian scout. Light on my feet is apparently also not one of my mad skills. My dreams of photographing wild creatures enjoying the rebirth of the land were quickly dashed by my clumsy feet snapping every twig and crunching through the remaining dry grass.
I flushed three groups of quail. I spooked two groups of deer. All were far swifter than my fledgling could-you-hold-still-for-just-a-moment camera ability. I also tried to creep up to get a closer shot of numerous birds, but the birds just found me flat creepy, and played a fine and elusive game of ring around the brier patch with me. This little exercise in the tall grass resulted in many, many, MANY chigger bites in many, many, MANY delicate places on my body. Hooray spring.
So I kept wandering, thinking that if I found a good spot I should just stop, plant myself and try…really TRY…to stay quiet to see what might stumble upon me instead.
So I did just that. I planted myself. I waited.
Soon enough, I did hear the distinct sound of something approaching. Something on the large side. We’re not talking bunny here.
I got ready. I put my eye to the viewfinder. I held my breath. I was finally going to get that shot of a deer or something equally fabulous.
Um. We also have a huge population of coyotes here. Oh…and didn’t I write about wild boars on our land in the not so distant past? Then the reports of cougars cruising around in the area popped into my head. Cougar stories aside, I had personally seen a beautiful bobcat nearby and I’m pretty sure babbling “nice kitty, gooooooood kitty,” would not sooth a startled wild cat.
As the sound of “something” approaching grew louder, I grew a tad bit nervous about just what kind of critter was about to discover me hiding in the brush.
Yes, I captured a photo of the rare, wild Iniature-ma Onkey-da (that’s the technical pig Latin term for…well…you get it.) Yes, my mini donkey, Stormin’ Norman proved that he is a far better tracker that I am. Upon finding me, he sounded the loud, yodeling bray that can only mean “tag, you’re it,” and I was soon surrounded by the rest of the players–four more miniature donkeys and our new standard donkey, Delta Dawnkey.
Wildlife photo session quickly morphed into donkey and horse photo session. Eh, sometimes you just have to go with it. They are willing models and WAY less scary than a wild boar.
OK kids, strike a pose!
NOTE: I am a very amateur photographer just figuring out my new, fancy (meaning not a cell phone) camera. These photos are raw, have not passed through Photoshop (because I still don’t get it), and are just a result of my shoot-to-learn theory. Tips from true shutterbugs always welcome.